Prototypes designed to make towing safer

  • Nervous towers will welcome the news that Land Rover is developing two new concepts to make the process less stressful, writes Madeleine Pitt.

    The “Transparent Trailer” system has been designed to remove the blind spot created when towing, allowing drivers to clearly see vehicles coming up behind them, as well as helping with reversing.

    “When you are overtaking it is instinctive to check your mirrors, but if you are towing your vision is often restricted with large blind spots,” said Dr Wolfgang Epple, director of research and technology at Jaguar Land Rover.

    “Our Transparent Trailer project is researching how we could offer a view out of the vehicle unrestricted by your trailer, making towing safer and less stressful.”

    The prototype system combines the video feed from the vehicle’s surround camera system with a video from a wireless camera at the rear of the trailer. The video feeds are then combined to create the live video images that make the trailer behind appear see-through. When the trailer is coupled to the towing car, the live video feed would appear in the rear view mirror.

    Land Rover’s second innovation is the “Cargo Sense” system — a trailer-monitoring device designed to alert you if your horse is moving in an abnormal way.

    The prototype system combines a remote video camera inside the trailer and a mat of pressure sensors on the floor, that link wirelessly to the towing vehicle.

    It would send a “check cargo” warning to the dashboard to alert the driver. Live video footage could then be made available to assess the situation.

    The Cargo Sense app allows you to check the status of the trailer remotely when you are away from it and you would be alerted via SMS if the horse was distressed, for example.

    Eventer and Land Rover ambassador Harry Meade has tested the new technologies and said it was fun to see “progress in action”.

    “These two bits of technology will make the life of the trailer driver so much easier,” he said.

    • To watch, go to: www.landrover.com

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